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What determines whether I can use the Federal or state list of exemptions?

Even though bankruptcy law is a Federal matter, the law allows states to make up their own lists of exempt property. Many states have done so. Some require debtors to use the state list, while others allow the debtor to choose either the state list or the Federal list (these state are called “opt-in states” because they allow the debtor to opt in to using the Federal list).